The Investor Update
We’ve been asked by a couple of investors if they could share our monthly updates with portfolio companies. They seem to dig the way we convey information about company progress.
Inkshares is a seed-stage, Silicon Valley-based technology company that publishes books. We are a business focused on selling books, which equates to revenue generation. The meat of our update contemplates revenue growth.
Our updates are sent to existing investors, prospective investors, advisors, and other people we’re attached to (like my dad, Thad’s mom, my wife, a buddy of mine named Geoff Skow, etc.). And what we know is they’re not going to read a lot of text.
So, the key is to put the most salient information up top (“Asks”). The second key is to include a lot of imagery and whitespace. Humans, even investors, are a visual species. This tenet factors into web design. And it factors into the layout of the investor update.
So, here’s the Inkshares investor update covering the month of March, 2016. My hope is that this delivers a sense of what I’ve described above. The numbers are real. The only information I changed here was the names of companies in our Partnership Pipeline.
Apologies for the tardy update. My wife and I have spent the last few days moving out of San Francisco into the East Bay (apparently kids need a yard to play in).
It’s now clear that a couple of our books will be perennial sellers. We need to secure a $100K line of credit so that we might print larger quantities of these books and reduce unit costs. We’ll save $10,000 on each print run (nearly 40%) if we’re able to do this.
The traditional banking system thinks we’re too risky and has so far denied us a line of credit. We’ve had luck with Kabbage, but would like to find an option that gives us a less-than-ten-percent interest rate.
In March we closed another $207,000 in investment. We’d like to welcome Barbara Corcoran Venture Partners, and UTA agents Howie Sanders and Charlie Ferraro as our newest investors!
We’re in conversations with a couple of investors who are interested in taking the final $250K in our round.
March was our highest-grossing month ever at Inkshares. We did $179,912.03 in gross revenue. That’s 25% growth over February, where we did $142,042.12 in gross revenue.
(pink = crowdfunds, green = book sales revenue, blue = derivative rights sales)
Derivative Rights: $77,000
Book Sales: $60,667.16
We sold the World English audiobook rights for The Show to Penguin Random House Audio for $75k with an additional $25k bonus if we clear 20,000 units in the first year. This was the product of extremely aggressive dealmaking and represents the type of audio advance typically reserved for a recurring mega-bestseller like Nicholas Sparks. We have many more audiobook rights in the works and look forward to updating you on them in the coming months as they close.
We also sold the Hungarian-language rights for The Show. This marks the first sale of “international rights” for an Inkshares book — just the beginning for this title and for Inkshares titles more broadly. The United States comprises only one fifth to one quarter of the world publishing market. Over the next year, we look forward to updating you on how we will use licensing, partnerships, and our own product to monetize foreign opportunities.
Partnerships — Pipeline
We met with XXXXXXX in LA a couple of weeks ago to negotiate the sale of movie/TV options for The Astronaut Instruction Manual. They’re also interested in buying the comic-book rights for the same title, as they have yet to release a comic-book series that appeals to pre-teens.
XXXXXXX and XXXXXXX continue to parlay over the audio-book rights to Trekonomics. But we’re getting ready to close with one of them for $**,***.
We also met with several studios who are interested in buying the movie/TV options for Trekonomics, The Life Engineered, An Unattractive Vampire, and Practical Applications for Multiverse Theory.
Marketing and PR
- Fortune covered The Show in Ex-Google Employee Gets Movie Deal for Book on Sex, Drugs and Partying.
- CBS This Morning featured Jack Myers, author of The Future of Men, in a Charlie Rose interview.
- Asteroid Made of Dragons had a nice writeup in Publishers Weekly.
- An Unattractive Vampire also had a review in Publishers Weekly.
New E-Commerce Page
Thad designed and wrote the code behind our new e-commerce page for funded books. The aim is to boost conversions by promoting prominent press mentions and drawing the user in with a large book-cover image. Here’s an example for Trekonomics:
We added a new feature that is designed to make it easier for readers to get onboarded, based on the genres that are interesting to them.
We rolled out an oft-requested feature that allows users to send direct (private) messages to each other. Users can only send messages to those who follow them so as to avoid spam and reinforce the value of the Inkshares social network.
The Bottom of the Pile
We forgot to mention in last month’s update that we have moved the office out of Jackson Square (San Francisco) to Oakland.
And here’s the inside:
The rent is about $650/month less than our co-working space in Jackson Square (our new space is ours entirely). We’re paying a little under $1.50 per square foot in Oakland.
Until next month,